RESEARCH PROJECTS AND COLLABORATIONS

TeamScape LLC is currently funded by NASA through agreements with Georgia Institute of Technology.  

Current Work:
Understanding Key Components of Successful Autonomous Space Missions.  

Exploration space missions will require that space crews

maintain effective task and teamwork while confined in

an isolated environment over long durations. Space crews

will need to manage tasks more autonomously and self-

sufficiently than in current operations, although they will

continue to be part of the multi-team system comprised of

members in space and in Mission Control. A primary

determinant of the level of crew autonomy will be the

availability of communication with ground personnel. 

Communication with ground support will be significantly

delayed during long duration exploration missions, or may

be disrupted or unavailable during portions of the mission. 

Space crews will be required not only to manage their own behavioral health and team performance during periods of autonomy, but also to navigate varying levels of autonomy as needed to coordinate and collaborate with MC despite communication challenges.

Our research is addressing these gaps.  We are conducting several ground-based analog missions that simulate work and living conditions during long duration space missions to a) examine and model the impact of crew autonomy on both the crew and the space/ground team, and b) to determine whether its impact changes over time.  Taking a multi-team systems perspective will allow us to understand how crew autonomy affects both crew and Mission Control and their collaboration. We are examining team processes and task performance during 10 space-analog missions in US and Russia involving at least 45 days of confinement and social isolation. The models we derive will enable us to specify leverage and trigger points for countermeasures to ensure MTS effectiveness during LDEMs and to identify knowledge gaps to be addressed in future research.  

Previous work:
Protocols for Asynchronous Communication in Space Operations: 
Communication Analyses and Experimental Studies. 

The safety and success of future space missions will depend on the ability of the space crew and Mission Control to collaborate effectively, even when communication between them is delayed.  As mission travel further from the Earth, space-ground communication will involve significant delays, up to 20 minutes one way for missions to Mars. It is critical to examine about how communication delay will impact space-ground collaboration and task performance, how different communication media may mediate its effect, and how best to support space-ground collaboration during periods of communication delay.  Using a combination of laboratory and space analog studies, we identified errors in three critical features of communication: Timing (of message transmission and possible response); Thread (tracking and maintaining conversational threads); and Transmission Efficiency (‘chunking’ relevant information in a single message). Lack of attention to these features led to confusion with respect to when responses could be expected and which messages were linked – and resultant operational errors. We delivered a countermeasure in the form of medium-specific Communication Protocols and a training module to help space crews and Mission Control communicate and collaborate during time delay.  

Pending Projects:

TeamScape LLC is partnering with Braided Communications, Ltd., an innovative technology company in the UK, to text Braiding software in the context of US space operations.   www.Braided.space

Collaborative Partners:

Dr. Ute Fischer, Georgia Institute of Technology

Rob Brougham, Braided Communications Ltd.

Andrew Smithsimmons, Braided Communications Ltd.

Dr. Beth Veinott, Cognitive Analytics and Measures LLC

Dr. Shane Mueller, Cognitive Analytics and Measures LLC

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